Melasma Treatment Center 2017-01-11T12:16:56+00:00

MEDICAL DERMATOLOGY

MELASMA TREATMENT CENTER

WHAT IS MELASMA?

Melasma is a skin condition characterized by the presence of tan or brown irregular patches on the face of a woman. Quite often, both sides of the face are involved symmetrically, with the most common sites of involvement being the cheeks, bridge of nose, forehead, and upper lip. Melasma is extremely common, and it affects five to six million American women annually. Over 90% of cases occur in women, and it is especially common in darker skinned individuals, particularly Hispanics, Asians, and women of Middle Eastern ancestry. Often, there is a previous family history of melasma.

CAUSES

Although the causes of melasma are not completely understood, several factors are known to play a role. Clearly genetics is a factor, as women with a family history of melasma are more likely to develop the condition. Also, hormonal factors play a role, as pregnancy and birth control pills may also cause melasma. Chloasma is a term that is sometimes used to describe the melasma that occurs during pregnancy. In addition, sun exposure is one of the most important contributing factors in the development of melasma.

It is believed that melasma results from exposure to estrogen and progesterone from the blood combined with exposure to ultraviolet light from the sun. Together, these exposures result in an over-stimulation of the pigment producing cells in the skin, increased production of melanin pigment, and the characteristic brown patches of melasma.

TYPES OF MELASMA

Dermatologists recognize three types of melasma.

EPIDERMAL

In epidermal melasma, the extra melanin pigment is located in the epidermis, the top layer of the skin. Epidermal melasma nearly always responds well to topical therapy with creams and lotions.

DERMAL

In dermal melasma, the extra pigment is located deeper in the skin, in the dermis. Because the pigment in dermal melasma is located deeper in the skin, it may not respond well to treatment with creams and lotions, and other measures, including lasers, may be required to treat it.

MIXED-TYPE

In mixed-type melasma, the extra pigment is located in both the epidermis and the dermis. Again, topical therapy alone may not be sufficient to treat mixed-type melasma and lasers may be required in order to obtain an optimum treatment result.

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